Life In Cuba

While driving through southern Colorado this weekend, I happened to catch the Bob Edwards Weekend show on NPR.  His guest was Carlos Eire, Yale historian and author of Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy, and Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy.  It was fascinating.

Professor Eire was one of 14,000 Cuban children who were “voluntarily orphaned”  through Operation Pedro Pan, in which the children were sent from Cuba to Miami by their parents between 1960-62.  The operation was designed to send the children of parents who opposed the revolutionary Castro government out of the country so the Castro government could not use them as leverage against their parents.  Eire paints a stark picture of life in Cuba.

He also mentioned a noteworthy blog from Cuba about routine life in Cuba, Generacion Y.  The blog is written by Yoani Sánchez, who lives in Havana.  She writes about day-to-day life in our local socialist paradise.  Things we take for granted in the U.S. can’t be just 90 miles off our southern shore. 

For example, here is a post about a normal Friday night, taxis, electrical power, and cell phones:

Dark night, a blackout in the vicinity of the Buena Vista neighborhood in Playa. The dilapidated shared taxi I’m taking stalls, and with an exhausted snort refuses to start again. A passenger and the driver are trying to fix it, while on both sides of the street we see people are sitting outside their houses, resigned to the power outage. I look in my wallet for my mobile, wanting to tell my family I’m delayed so they won’t worry about me. It’s an ugly picture: we are in the midst of the darkness, in an area where crime isn’t child’s play, and to top it off my cellphone doesn’t work. Every time I try to dial a number I get the message, “Call Failed.” Finally, the car is purring again and we manage to advance, but the telephone service is not restored to the useless gadget and I feel like throwing it out the window. When I get home I discover that Reinaldo can’t call from his, either, and that my blogger friends can’t even receive text messages.

Our only mobile phone company cut the service for all of Friday night and part of Saturday, canceling for more than 24 hours a service for which we paid in convertible currency. With its announcements of “instant communication,” Cubacel comports itself as if it is an accomplice to the ideologically motivated censorship; supporting the reprimand from the political police ,it puts an error message on our screens. It uses its monopoly power to punish those clients who deviate from the official line of thought. Part of its business capital, provided by foreign investors, is used to support the infrastructure of a momentary or prolonged boycott of certain cell phone numbers. A contradictory role for a company that should connect us to the world, not leave us hanging when we need it most.

It is not the first time this has happened. Every so often someone flips a switch and leaves us in silence. Curiously, it happens when there is important news to report and urgent information to bring to light. . . .

It is a fascinating blog.

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Published in: on December 6, 2010 at 9:38 am  Leave a Comment  

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